Five top tips for your dahlias this autumn
Find out more below about caring for your dahlias, with some help from our friends at BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine.
Discover how to grow dahlias from our previous blog here.
Tip 1: Extend blooming
To enjoy dahlias’ vibrant blooms into October and beyond, practice regular deadheading and feeding throughout the autumn months. This will encourage continued flowering until the first frosts arrive.
Tip 2: Frost protection
Once frost hits, it’s crucial to protect your dahlias. After the foliage has blackened, cut the stems back to about 12cm. Gently lift the tuber from the ground with a garden fork, removing soil with your fingers. Place the tubers upside down on a newspaper-lined tray to dry out for a couple of weeks in a dry, cool location.
Tip 3: Proper storage
After drying, store the dahlias in a cool, frost-free place. Use a shallow tray filled with dry compost or horticultural sand. It’s essential not to water them during this period. Dahlias do not require light, so a dark garage or cellar is an ideal storage space. Keep them here until it’s time to repot them in late March or early spring.
Tip 4: Frost-prone areas
In regions with severe frost or excessive winter moisture, dahlias may not survive in the garden. It’s best to lift and store tubers as mentioned above. However, if you’re in a mild area with well-drained soil, consider covering the soil around the tubers with a thick layer of mushroom compost and straw. This protective layer will insulate the tubers from frost damage. In spring, simply remove the excess compost to reveal your dahlias.
Tip 5: Care for limited space
If you lack space for lifting and storing dahlia tubers, you can cover the soil with a generous layer of mushroom compost and straw to shield them from frost. This technique is especially useful in milder climates. When spring arrives, rake away the excess compost to allow your dahlias to flourish once again.
Take a look at the gallery below for inspiration from dahlias that bloomed at BBC Gardeners’ World Live 2023 to see just some of the varieties of dahlias you could grow in your own garden.